2007 TartanTbilisi - Tbilisi Children’s Hospital Print E-mail
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2007 TartanTbilisi
Tuesday 16th October - First Step
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Four of us then visited the hospital and promptly had all the cheery thoughts knocked out of us. 

I’m keen not to insult the people who run the place, they obviously do the best they can with scarce resources and are understandably proud professionals – they were keen to show us the best bits even though showing us the worst areas was more likely benefit them. They also seem to perform near miracles when they have to operate on premature babies, and my hat goes off to them for that.

However I have to write down my own observations…

The corridors are big, peeling and draughty, and have the look of a deserted building. 
Each of the wards/rooms we were shown were shocking to me in terms of their sparseness, and got progressively worse until we eventually got shown the room for handicapped babies, which was truly heartbreaking. 

Jackie Swales from the Embassy did a great job forcing them to show us the worse rooms, which she’d seen herself a few weeks previously. On that visit she found that the babies were flea-bitten and that the majority die.

What I saw were a handful of helpless babies in various states of health, from poor to hanging on. Some were on bare adult mattresses; two were sharing an incubator – one close to death and probably therefore condemning the other.

The handicapped babies were in a room at the back, not much more than a room with some cots – I can’t really do them justice with words, for which I apologise. My lasting memory will be reaching out to stroke the cheek of one toddler - I pulled my hand back at the last minute in case I wasn’t allowed because of infection, but it felt like I’d pulled back because he was handicapped. The one thing these children need more than anything is affection.

We left them with a month’s supply of nappies (Jackie had reported them as using and re-using damp rags before), several holdalls of beautiful baby clothes, blankets and incubator hats etc, and a promise of £10,000 to buy a new incubator and other equipment.


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